Drug war efforts should be re-evaluated

Freedom New Mexico

Anyone who has seen the 1936 anti-drug movie “Tell Your Children,” more commonly known as “Reefer Madness,” knows the ridiculous levels the powers that be will go in their attempts to keep Americans from using a product that harms no one but themselves.

The movie follows the destructive paths of several young people who become “addicted” to marijuana through wild parties thrown by pushers.

Looking back on the movie with the knowledge we have today of the effects of marijuana, “Tell Your Children” is more of a joke than a cautionary tale about the dangers of drug use. We have a feeling later generations will think the same thing about some of the ways governments attempt to fight the drug war today.

A cold sufferer can’t stop by the corner drug store and pick up the most effective decongestant without jumping through hoops. One of the most popular brands contains a key ingredient in cooking methamphetamine and the feds have restricted the amount a person can buy at one time, so stores keep it behind the pharmacy counter and make people ask for it.

In place for a few years now, the restrictions haven’t lowered the amount of meth on the streets. Most of the drug in the U.S. comes from large factories in Mexico.

Another government attempt to cut down on drug use has been laws that ban the sale of “drug paraphernalia,” objects whose main or only purpose is to help get drugs, often marijuana, into one’s body.

Decades ago, even small cities had several stores that sold marijuana pipes, bongs, roach clips and other “drug paraphernalia.”

Did pot use go away after the bans went into effect?

Of course not. Users simply found other common objects that could be used as delivery systems or bought what they needed on the black market, where a thriving business keeps pot smokers well supplied with what they need.
Spring clips for holding marijuana cigarettes are readily available at businesses all over this country. They’re called hardware stores.

Banning things doesn’t keep them from people who want them. But governments never seem to learn this lesson.
Now Chicago’s City Council is considering a ban on the use, sale and possession of tiny self-sealing plastic bags often used to package small quantities of drugs. According to a news report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Alderman Robert Fioretti got the idea for the ban after he picked up a dozen or so bags off the ground in a stroll through a city park. He wrote the ordinance and is guiding it through the City Council.

Language in the proposal would outlaw “self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in either height or width.”
There are so many things wrong with this idea it’s difficult to know where to start.

Setting aside the previously mentioned fact that bans don’t work, the next problem is that the law would be easy to circumvent by using other bags on the market.

Popular snack-sized bags are large enough to skirt the ban and small enough to work for a dealer’s purposes. Or full-size sandwich bags could be cut down and sealed in other ways.

A blogger discussing the issue on one site wrote that now he’d have to start buying his drugs in larger quantities.
One council member backed the ban, saying it’s a desperate measure to address what he called “the most destructive force” in the city’s neighborhoods.

He almost has it right. But “the most destructive force” in his city and others isn’t drugs; it’s the drug war that drives up the price of drugs and makes dealing them so attractive to criminal elements.

The drug war isn’t working. It’s time for officials to stop worrying about being tagged with the soft-on-crime label and take courageous steps to re-evaluate a failed policy.